Uncaged: Roving Reference

Tablets do not just have to be for the patrons in your libraries.  They can also be a valuable tool in libraries to provide updated and on-the-spot services.  The perfect example of this is the idea of the roving reference librarian.

Tablets have been used previously to pilot roving reference models. An example is outlined in the article by Michael Smith and Barbara Pietraszewski in 2004.  The tablet was found to provide convenience in accessing the library's resources while away from the reference desk, and also proved to be a novelty that drew students' attention.

The design of the recent generation of tablets makes roving reference even easier, with lower weights, slimmer profiles, and the multi-touch interfaces which eliminate the need for peripherals like keyboards or the need for handwriting interpreting software.  One of the notable lacks though, in this generation of tablets, is their difficulty with Flash web technology.  Many sites, including most video sites, rely on Flash to deliver their content, so this might proved inconvenient in some circumstances.  If you decide to use tablets in your library, make sure to check that they will meet all of your needs.